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2 Timothy chapter 1

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New International Version

New American Standard Bible

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King James Version

New King James Version

What does 2 Timothy chapter 1 mean?

Chapter 1 includes a greeting (2 Timothy 1:1–2) and encouragement to Timothy (2 Timothy 1:3–5), followed by words reminding Timothy of his faith. Paul traces Timothy's faith back to his grandmother, then to his mother, and then to him. Timothy is encouraged to "fan into flame" the gift of God (2 Timothy 1:6–7). Paul encourages Timothy not to be ashamed of Jesus or of Paul in his imprisonment. Paul gives some information about his own situation and continues to encourage Timothy to follow sound teaching and "guard the good deposit entrusted to you" (2 Timothy 1:8–18).

The introduction covers verses 1–2 and includes the author (Paul) and information about him, the recipient (Timothy), and information about him, followed by a brief greeting. This was a common form for ancient letter writing and often used by Paul.

Verses 3–5 speak of Paul's prayers for Timothy (2 Timothy 1:3), his desire to see him (2 Timothy 1:4), and a reminder of Timothy's sincere faith. This faith was strong in Timothy's family, reaching back to his mother and grandmother (2 Timothy 1:5). Paul's letters often mention Timothy as a ministry partner, so this extended passage of gratitude is to be expected. At a time when others are abandoning Paul—according to the later parts of this letter—he is glad to count Timothy as a faithful friend.

Verses 6–14 bring much encouragement to Timothy. This is unique, considering that Paul is in a desperate situation. He writes from a Roman jail and expects to soon die. Regardless of his circumstances, he reminds Timothy of his gift (2 Timothy 1:6), of his power from God (2 Timothy 1:7), and tells him not to be ashamed of Paul or of the gospel (2 Timothy 1:8–12). Given that Paul often mentions the concepts of bravery and courage to Timothy, this might have been a spiritual weakness which Paul was helping him to address.

The final verses encourage Timothy to remain true in sound doctrine (2 Timothy 1:13–14), mention two men who left Paul (2 Timothy 1:15), and speaks favorably of the household of Onesiphorus, a man who helped him while he was in jail (2 Timothy 1:16–18). When others were abandoning him, Onesiphorus seems to have taken the time to track Paul down, even in a gigantic city jail system, and provide him with support.
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